Tag Archives: world
August 15, 2013

Clean and Scenic Beaches in Maine

Maine’s southern coast is home to some of the world’s most picturesque beaches. Each beach is different than another. Some are soft and sandy, some are a riot of tidal pools and others are composed of smooth stones.  The water tends to be colder at the north end of the state and even a little too warm for some as you go south.  You also have your choice of visiting a wild, secluded beach or one that comes with amenities such as change rooms and snack bars.


Orchard Beach is one of the most famous beaches in the world that has a long scenic stretch of silty white sand. It boasts amusement parks, food and games. There are many well-placed parking lots and the beaches are always well guarded by a vigilant staff of well-trained life guards.


The north end of the beach is a bit quieter and is also known as Pine Point Beach.  It is surrounded by majestic towering white pines.


This beach is known for it’s warm water and soothing gentle surf. The mild character of the ocean here makes it popular with families. There are also lots of lifeguards on this site.


If you feel that you want to get away from the crowds and kids, this beach is attached to Footbridge Beach that is less populated but just as pretty. To get to it you cross a small footbridge over a tidal creek. It is easy to examine marine life when the tide is out in this area.


This is a three-mile expanse of sand at the mouth of the Kennebec River that is full of tidal pools that are perfect for exploring. However it is often a very windy beach that can boast dangerously high waves or sand in the eyes. If you like surf and boogie boarding then this would easily become a favorite beach for you.


This is one of the most beautiful pebbled beaches in the state. It is located very near Popham Beach and the town of Bristol. It is more secluded and wild in nature than neighboring bitches.


This is a smaller wilder beach located in Bar Harbor in Acadia National Park. It is notable because it is surrounded by two huge rock walls.  The water is really warm because the each has a perfect southern exposure. It also is well known for its beautiful view.


No matter what your vision of the ideal beach is you are sure to find it among the scores of resort areas that line the Maine Coast.


August 10, 2013

Blueberry Picking in Maine

The blueberry is native to Maine and they can be found growing everywhere all over the state in fields and barrens. That is because they thrive in the state’s naturally low acid soils.


Although you can buy them commercially it is a real tradition to go picking wild blueberries. Even commercial growers don’t tend to plant them or cultivate them. They just happen to own the land on which they grow.


Blueberry picking is a tradition that started centuries ago with the Native Americans of the area. They were the first to use these tiny sharp tasting berries as food and medicine.  They weren’t actually harvested commercially until the 1840s.


Most of the blueberry bushes can be found on ‘the barrens.” These are vast rolling plains of sandy soil that were formed by the glaciers and that perfectly suit the growing of low bush blueberries.  Other plants that grow in these barrens are rhodora, tea-berry, laurel and bracken.


These blueberries are a dark velvety blue and quite tiny. Other than in a few spots in Canada they really are not found anywhere else in the world.


The best time for anyone to pick blueberries is in August.  Any frost will kill these delicate tiny berries so it is always done way before frost can set it.


There are scores of wonderful pick-your-own farms in Maine.


In Adroscoggin County try Card’s Farm or Goss Berry Farm. You can pick your own raspberry and blueberries from dusk to dawn at both places.


In Aroostook County there is Circle B Farms, which has six acres of blueberries for PYO (pick your own.)  In Aroostookt here is also McNally’s Farm, Mac’s Best Produce and Hebert Farm.

In Cumblerland County you can pick your own at Crabtree’s Blueberries and The Stewart’s Farm.


In Franklin County there is Firth’s Fruit Farm and the Peace and Plenty Farm. The Peace and Plenty Farm sells organic wild sour top Maine blueberries.


In Hancock County you can pick your own in a marshy blueberry barrens at Hog Bay Blueberries.


In Kennebec County you can pick blueberries as well as pick up a little Maple Syrup for blueberry pancakes at Wagner’s Maple Sugar House.


In Lincoln County you can get big organic wild blueberries at Crummet Mountain Farm.


In Washington County you can pick them and buy nationally known preserves at Blue Barrens Farm.


In Walso County, both Staples Homestead and Sewall’s Orchards offer blueberry picking.


York County is the home if the famous Blueberry Hill Farm that offers a staggering ten acres of blueberries!


June 23, 2013

Parkfield – The Earthquake Capital of the World

In the county of Monterey in California is a small town of 18 known as Parkside, which is often called The Earthquake Capital of the World.  The town experiences an earthquake above .6 on the Richter scale every 22 years. The motto of the town is “Be Here When It Happens”, possibly referring to the “Big One” that is supposed to devastate California.


The town is built directly on the San Andreas fault and is about 1500 feet above sea level in the TemblorHills. It used to be a thriving mining community and curious visitors can still visit some of these abandoned mines.  The town itself is very pretty and sits in a grove of very old oak trees.


The bridge across the creek in downtown Parkside has shifted more than five feet relative to it’s original position when it was built in 1936.If you have an interest in geology then Parkfield is definitely the place to visit. It is one of the most closely measured and watched earthquake zones in the world. Just North of Parkfield is the San Andreas Fault Observatory at Depth, which is a hole, drilled 2.5 miles into the earth’s crust that is meant to observe seismic activity.


The town is owned and run by a couple of families of ranchers and farmers and Parkfield is well known for its horse-shows, rodeos and equestrian-related events. It also holds an annual Bluegrass Festival. It is also the site of the Parkfield Classic, which is a collegiate bike race that has been held in the hills in the area since 1989.  This event typically takes place on the first or third weekend of October and consists of three courses: a 9, 16 and 24-mile challenge.


There are also many hiking trails and trails for equestrians to ride their horses high into the hills so they can enjoy some scenic views. There are beautiful valleys and rock outcroppings cloaked in fields of wildflowers; in fact there are over 200 species of wildflowers in the hills around Parkfield.


Parkfield is also a haven for bird-watchers, butterfly lovers and campers. There are both natural and paid campsites in the area so you can sleep outdoors at night under the stars.


There are also heritage style ranches in the area that also double as hotels and spas. The cuisine offered in the area tends to be the organic meat from grass-fed grazing cows in the area. This special meat from the area of Parkfield is free from antibiotics, pesticides and chemicals.

June 20, 2013

The Natural Landmarks of Moneterey

The county of Monterey, California is one of the most beautiful in the entire world and has many wonderful natural landmarks that distinguish it from other parts of the world.


One of the most important natural landmarks in the county is the Cypress tree on the Point Lobos State Reserve. This giant 300-year-old tree that has been eroded by salt and wind stands by itself out on a craggy rock in the ocean. It is the biggest of a rare breed of Cypress particular to the area known as the Monterey cypress. This tree is not found anywhere else in the entire world.


If you love sand dunes you will find many of them right on the coastline of the city of Monterey in Monterey County. The Del Monte beach is covered with sea grass and huge pink dunes.  A boardwalk offers you a pleasant walk near the city’s restaurants and other attractions.


Also in Monterey is Huntington Beach, which features a natural phenomenon, called The Grunion Run. These are small silver fish that jump completely out of the water and into your bare hands and buckets during spawning season.  This happens after a series of high tides every Spring.


The Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is in Big Sur County and features the big 3000 foot sandy ridges that are a famous feature of the Monterey. You can view these beautiful natural cliffs with the surf crashing against them as you cruise along highway 1 which hugs the California coastline.


Limekin State Park features breathtaking redwood forests, limestone caves and beautiful views of the Big Sur coast.  This park is 56 miles south of Carmel.

The historic 260 floor concrete structure known as the Bixby Bridge on Highway 1 is located across Bixby Creek on Bixby Ranch and is surrounded by rolling hills and cresting surf.  The California Coastal Conservancy is currently trying to protect this large property from development, formerly owned by Allan Funt of Candid Camera fame.


However some of the steepest cliffs in Monterey County are found near Gorda where tall cliffs drop into deep waters. The rocks provide a sanctuary for elephant seals, birds and it is the perfect spot to watch migrating birds.


In the heart of the Salinas Valley is the famous Pinnacles National Monument that consists of acres of rounded rock outcroppings.  The rows of crops in the Salinas area are also landmarks in themselves with lines of produce continuing in the distance for miles as you drive across the county on Highway 101.


June 11, 2013

The B&B’s and Inns of Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara, located on California’s Central coast, has a great deal to offer the tourist (especially if you like bed and breakfasts that offer such five star luxuries as a built in spa service or breakfast in bed). These five star rated bed and breakfasts cater to the well heeled and are a cut above the usual mom and pop operations. Most of them are clustered near California’s Santa Ynez mountains, famous vineyards, five star restaurants and the Karpeles Manuscript Museum (that holds the original copy of the Declaration of Independence.)


In Santa Barbara proper there are many former stately residences in the historic section of the city.  Would you rather live in your own private cottage rather than stay in a stately mansions.  Many of the stately homes also have cottages that used to house the hired help.  Some hotels and B&B’s offer visitors an entire functional cottage.


One of the most famous of these Santa Barbara B & B’s is the Simpson’s Inn, which features fully outfitted cottages nestled among award winning rose gardens. You will feel like you have been transported to another world.


Another Inn that is well known for it’s cheap but affordable little cottages is the Secret Garden Inn which lives up to it’s name as all the cottages face into a beautiful green alcove with decorative tables and chairs. It is located right on Mission Street in downtown Santa Barbara close to all of the great shopping.


If you like the Spanish style of Villa and want to live right on the beach then try out the Brisas Del Mar. This is a mission stye place that has is just across the street from Pershing Park and the white sands of West Beach.


If you want to live in a standard beautiful motel for a few days then the Blue Sands fits the bill.  A combination of retro design with modern conveniences makes this a glamorous little place to stay.


There is plenty to see in beautiful Santa Barbara including a gorgeous coastline with a pounding surf, nature trails and many museums devoted to both English and Spanish colonial history. The museums, many of which are located within steps of Santa Barbara bed and breakfasts include The Santa Barbara Museum of Art (that contains an impressive collection of marble Roman statues) and the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural Art (that has an exclusive shark exhibit and a Lizard Lounge.)  However you do not have to walk far from any B & B to see the real marine life as whale watching on the city’s shores is a popular pastime.

June 2, 2013

The Best Beaches in Brazil

If you travel Brazil bring your bathing suit! Brazil boasts some of the very best beaches in the world.  Except for a handful of them in the very southern part of the country they are open all year round for swimming.


From December to February the temperatures in Brazil get very hot (around 40 degrees Celsius).  This is great swimming weather but if you prefer things less toasty then plan on travel Brazil best beaches between March and May and September and November.


Some of the most glamorous beaches in the world are right near Rio de Janeiro. This includes the Copacabana beach, which has bright white sand and huge waves. Also nearby is the swanky Ipanema beach, which is surrounded by chic boutiques and cafes.


If you want to swim at the same beaches that Brigitte Bardot did when she was a big movie star in the sixties then you want to visit Bouzios. Bouzios is a fishing village twenty-two kilometers north of Rio de Janeiro that boasts 22 beachfronts.


If you want to play on a tropical beach then Costa Verda is the piece of coastline for you. This southern region features lush forest that meets the shores of the Atlantic along with trendy boutiques and cafes.


A very unusual beach, called the Garden beach by the locals exists about 45 miles south of Sao Paulo. The Santos Beach Gardens boasts a four-mile stretch of gardens.


If you want to see dolphins then you will want to go to the beach in the “city of the sun.” In Natal, in the Rio Grande state, the city sees 300 days of sunshine of year and some of the highest surf of all of the beaches in Brazil.


One of the best beaches for windsurfing in Brazil is Jericoacoara This beach is also known for its spectacular sand dunes; view of sunsets and nearby equestrian clubs.


One thing to remember about all Brazilian beaches is that they are located on the Atlantic Ocean. This means the water can be cold at times and that it can be rough. Be sure to swim when there is a lifeguard or beach patrol on duty especially if you don’t know the beach well as steep drop offs beneath the water are also common in Brazilian beaches.  Never swim in waters that are not identified as beaches as the Atlantic Ocean can have a very strong current.